At Dr. Martens, we have always stood against discrimination and hate speech of any kind. Now more than ever, we’re committing to our community to do better and use our voice to encourage positive change. We started by making a £100K/$125K donation to charities important to and nominated by our staff, including Show Racism the Red Card, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Black Lives Matter.
To continue our support and the important conversation on racism globally, we spoke to Show Racism the Red Card about their work, Wear Red Day and how to donate, plus the resources they offer and how anyone can be involved in supporting the fight against racism.
Interview with Paul Kearns, Deputy Chief Executive at Show Racism The Red Card.
Tell us how Show Racism The Red Card came about, what the initial idea was and where you’re at now?
PK: Founded with the help of former Newcastle United Goalkeeper Shaka Hislop in the North East in 1996, SRtRC uses the profile of football and footballers to engage young people to help educate them about the dangers of racism. 25 years later, we are still here and now work with 50,000 young people and more than 6,000 adults across England, Scotland and Wales every year. Engaging with more organisations like Dr. Martens, means that our important educational work is going from strength to strength!
Tell us about Wear Red Day and how Docs wearers can get involved?
PK: It’s a very simple idea, for one day every year, we ask people to come together across the UK (but not limited to) to demonstrate a strong anti-racism stance. To donate £1 and wear an item of red clothing to support SRtRC.
Each year it gets bigger and better and we hope that on Friday 16th October 2020, more people than ever before will support Wear Red Day. Anyone and everyone can join in, wear red, wear your red DM’s or paint your DM’s red. Find out more and make your donation here.
What has been your favourite moment throughout the growth of the charity?
PK: We organise and deliver educational events at football clubs across the UK, bringing together young people to take part in a series of workshops culminating with a session where young people get to put their questions about racism to players from the club. The events were externally evaluated and the assessors found that:
‘The most significant impact on young people is the sense of empowerment that it awakens.’ & ‘By fuelling young people’s passion to speak out against racism, SRtRC may be breaking the transmission of inter-generational racism.’
It was a very proud moment to have it externally verified that the hard work of my team up and down the Country was having such a meaningful impact on people’s lives.
What resources are available from SRtRC?
PK: We produce a range of educational resources. Our educational film, imaginatively titled, Show Racism the Red Card is used by schools across the UK and features members of the recent England Men’s and Women’s World Cup squads talking about experiences and advice around racism. Our Award winning Islamophobia film is another key educational resource and we have resources that deal with racism towards asylum seekers, roma, gypsy and traveller communities and even a resource aimed at tackling homophobia!
What’s the biggest challenge you face or as a company, or goal that you’re working towards within the company?
PK: The brutal murder of George Floyd has shaken communities across the globe and demonstrated to people the scale of the problem we still face with racism in our societies. It has also awoken a sense of injustice in people and a desire to effect positive change. We intend to harness that positive energy, push for changes to the curriculum and increase our educational programmes across the country, as Nelson Mandela said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.’
What are some of the common lessons that the workshops deliver? Do you have any advice on how to start the conversation around racism, in the home or with children?
PK: SRtRC’s workshops have always sought to help young people how to think, not told them what to think.
It’s really important that parents don’t feel afraid of having difficult conversations about racism with their children. It’s crucial that we do not simply give young people the answers, but help them develop critical thinking skills through questioning which will allow them to better understand and evaluate the things they see online or hear in the playground.
Whenever talking to young people about racism, it’s really important to establish a safe space. Make sure that you don’t judge anything they say or tell them they are wrong.
However parents decide to bring up the subject of racism with their children, simply being a strong anti-racist role model within your family can be an effective way to impart your values. Making clear your stance on discrimination at every opportunity teaches your children that racism is unacceptable and to always stand up to injustice.
Who would be your panellist of choice to feature on your Facebook live panels?
PK: Mohammed Salah! A true global icon, on and off the football pitch. The fact that Islamophobic hate crime has decreased in the city of Liverpool by 19% since he joined the club is just mindblowing and further demonstrates the power of football to help effect positive societal change.
Plus he helped my team become Premier League, European and World Champions!